“Busy” doesn’t adequately describe the lifestyle of Ellen Vander Linden. When she isn’t running her own communications consulting firm, Spark, or volunteering for IABC Minnesota, she’s most likely hiking, biking, skiing, camping, or watching her kids play sports. Whether it’s in her professional or personal life, Ellen is giving it her all.

Working in the marketing and communications realm for more than 15 years, Ellen’s seasoned expertise allows her to succeed as an independent communications consultant providing strategy, planning, coaching, and consulting for medium to large organizations. “I enjoy the variety of industries I have an opportunity to work with and the flexibility that comes with being my [own] boss.” However, she wasn’t always in an independent role. Her first real work experience was through an internship with the Iowa State University Athletic Marketing Department implementing a marketing plan for women’s gymnastics. Once graduated, she spent nine years with consumer-electronics retailer Best Buy in marketing and corporate communications roles. Upon moving to Austin, Texas in 2009 due to her husband’s job, Ellen found her calling as an independent consultant.

In fact, it was this move that inspired her to join the IABC community. While in Texas, she became a member of the IABC Austin chapter to meet and connect with other communications professionals in the area. Her most memorable experience was going to an event not knowing anyone yet leaving with several new connections–one who even hired her for some writing and editing for the University of Texas. “It was proof to me that connections can result in great opportunities,” she says. She even volunteered as vice president of finance and co-vice president of communications throughout 2010-2012 for the chapter. With responsibilities in paying the bills on time, monitoring the budget, and writing news bits, she worked to provide meaningful value to members and ensured the chapter was financially successful.

Now back in Minnesota, she volunteers for the Communications team for the IABC Minnesota chapter. For someone thinking about volunteering she advises, “Consider what would energize you. Maybe taking on a role you normally don’t fill would be a fun way to be involved, also be thoughtful in how much time you truly have to offer.”

Overall, IABC Minnesota is grateful for the time she has offered!